4th Ave: Why the Theme?

4th Ave poses for a picture during their summer choreography workshops.

4th Ave poses for a picture during their summer choreography workshops.

Rachel Meehan, A&E and Copy Editor

The 2019-2020 show choir season brings a new light to the stage. This year, the 4th Avenue Jazz Company takes it back to the 1960s and explores the emotion behind Americans as the first man landed on the moon. Tyler Hagy, director of 4th Ave, talks about the process of creating the unconventional show choir theme. 

“We had a meeting with the choreographers after auditions to talk through some potential ideas,” said Hagy. “Three people in the room had come up with a space theme or a theme in the 60s, so we decided to run with it. I offered to focus on Neil Armstrong in particular and the idea of the space race as a whole to provide a focal point for the story.”

Many high school show choirs explore themes of growing up, relationships, and coming of age.  Taking on a theme that takes place in the past, like 4th Ave is doing this season, is relatively unusual for a show choir to pursue. 

“The story of the space race and the moon landing is pretty universal. It’s something that people can latch on to and really relate to,” said Hagy. “For the young people of today, it’s a very distant memory. But many people alive today were around and remembered when [the moon landing] happened. It bridges the gap between generations, as well, which I don’t know that every show will do. It’s pretty special.”

Along with the captivating theme, the show also contains several different types of styles in the songs. This year’s show choir set includes “We went to the Moon” from the TV show “Even Stevens,” “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Pressure’ from “Muse,’ a mashup of “Sounds of Silence” and “Cosmic Love,” and “Down to Earth” by Peter Gabriel, and closes with “On Our Way” by The Royal Concept. 

“There are lots of different themes and styles to this year’s songs,” said Abby Rood ‘20. “We are also doing a lot of more intense choreography this year along with the emotion of the group and the level of maturity as compared to last year. I think it’s going to be really fun!”

Jeremy Brook, a senior in 4th Ave, shares Rood’s thoughts about the level of diversity of emotion and styles in the show. 

“We really have a lot of different emotions and feelings to the show. It’s like a rollercoaster, “ said Brook. “You don’t know what’s coming next until you’re in it.”

Like last year’s show choir theme of the Kinnick stadium wave, the theme of the moon landing and the space race as a whole is full of emotion for many different types of people. However, this year, 4th Ave brings a message the nation can latch on to and connect to as a memory of what it has accomplished and how far it has come as a country.

“Some of our national pride has sort of gone away for some people over the course of the last several years, so it’s important that we can all look back and remember this time where we were all focused on accomplishing a goal together as a country and not so divided by things,” said Hagy. “It’s an important message for people to remember and understand that we can work together for a common goal to better not just us, but also the rest of the world.”